Board of Directors
Dr. Patricia Morrissey, President
Consultant, Disability Policy
Dr. Morrissey is the former Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities within the Administration for Family and Children in the US Department on Health and Human Services. She is currently the Director of the Center on Disabilities Studies in the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa College of Education.
John Wodatch, Vice President
John Wodatch served for 42 years in the Federal government, where he authored the government’s comprehensive disability rights regulations for Section 504 and the ADA and created and led the Department of Justice’s section in charge of enforcing the ADA. He was also part of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations that helped develop the CRPD. He continues working internationally by assisting countries with their own disability rights laws and working to seek U.S ratification of the CRPD.
Marca Bristo, Past President
Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
Marca Bristo is President and CEO of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago’s center for independent living. She served as the Chair of the National Council on Disability, and the President of the National Council on Independent Living.
Jerry McCloskey, Treasurer Representative State of Wisconsin Jerry McCloskey is a graduate of Marquette University and serves as a Board member of Independence First, Milwaukee, WI, executive and advocacy committees. He is one of the State of Wisconsin representatives working with USICD on the quest for ratification of the CRPD, and is a polio survivor.
Judy Heumann is a long time and internationally recognized disability rights advocate. In previous positions at the World Bank and the U.S. Department of State, she led efforts to mainstream disability into international development programming in developing countries. She also has helped the independent living movement become increasingly global.
William M. Abrams is the President of the Trickle Up Program, in New York. Mr. Abrams joined Trickle Up following a career as a senior executive and journalist for the New York Times, ABC News and The Wall Street Journal.
Ruthie-Marie Beckwith is the Executive Director of TASH, Inc. and a national consultant who helps people with disabilities develop and implement strategies for greater autonomy in their daily lives. She was the founder and principal partner of Blue Fire Consulting and provided consulting services across the U.S. in areas of self-determination, community organizing, leadership development, and self-employment. Committed to grassroots approaches to empowerment and resource mobilization, she has served as the founder and Executive Director of the two statewide non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities; The Tennessee Association of Microboards and Cooperatives, Inc. and People First of Tennessee, Inc. She teaches advocacy and disability history at CUNY as Adjunct Faculty and has served as Adjunct Faculty at Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Special Education from George Peabody College and her B.S. degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Candace Cable has competed in 9 Paralympic Games, 4 Summer and 5 Winter Games from 1980 to 2006 in 3 sports, wheelchair racing, alpine and Nordic ski racing, winning 12 Paralympic medals, 8 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze. Winner of 84 marathons including 6 Boston Marathon titles, she is the current Paralympic skiing athlete representative to the USOC athlete advisory council. Candace is writer, webcast host, visual media creator, and United Nations representative for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
A public international lawyer, Ms. Guernsey has dedicated her career to the field of human rights, with particular focus on disability inclusive development and diplomacy. Much of her work has focused on enhancing the capacity of stakeholders to effectively formulate and implement disability inclusive policies and practices. She was extensively involved in the negotiation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), providing counsel to both governmental and non-governmental delegations. She has numerous publications associated with the treaty and international disability law and policy, including several co-authored World Bank publications. From 2010-2017, she served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, promoting disability inclusive diplomacy as a priority in U.S. foreign policy. In that capacity, she played a key role in developing and issuing the first ever comprehensive disability inclusive foreign policy guidance for the Department of State.
US Business Leadership Network
Jill Houghton is the Executive Director of the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN ) and most recently served as the Executive Director of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel.
Senior Staff Attorney
National Disability Rights Network
David Hutt is senior staff attorney at the National Disability Rights Network. He has provided training and manages the Representative Payee Review Project, and works on issues related to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
President and Executive Director
Axel Leblois is the President and Executive Director of G3ict, the global initiative for inclusive ICT’s, spent over 20 years as the helm of international technology companies in the United States, and served as a Senior Special Fellow of the United Nations Institute on Training and Research
Developmental Disabilities Institute
Wayne State University
Barbara LeRoy is a disability consultant to the Ministries of Education in New Zealand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
Janet Lord Board of Amnesty International USA Member Janet Lord is an international human rights lawyer who has worked on disability rights advocacy for 15 years. She participated in the drafting of the CRPD, written extensively on disability rights issues, and worked with disabled peoples’ organizations (DPOs) around the world. She serves on the Board of Amnesty International USA and teaches international disability rights at American University.
Director of Public Policy
Susan Mazui is the Director of Public Policy of AT&T. She has served on two terms of the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee, as well as on the national advisory committees of the Telecommunications Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center and the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC).
Meg O’Connell, is the President of Global Disability Inclusion. She is a nationally recognized disability employment expert with over 20 years of experience in human capital management, talent acquisition, performance management, disability inclusion, employee engagement, marketing and customer service programs. She provides strategic program design and implementation of disability employment and inclusion programs for Global 500 companies, non-profits and foundations. Prior to founding Global Disability Inclusion, she was Vice President at The National Organization on Disability where she designed and led their national consulting practice, providing disability inclusion expertise to Fortune 500 companies. She was also the lead architect of the first ever disability assessment tool, The Tracker, and led the analysis of the first data captures on employee engagement of people with disabilities. She also spent ten years at the premier consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton where she developed and led their employee resource group for employees with disabilities.
Susan Parker has more than 30 years of executive experience gained through appointments by state governors, U.S. presidents, local and international boards of directors to better help people with disabilities worldwide. The former Secretary-General of RI (1993-1998), Parker’s experiences as a New England ski racer and instructor pointed her toward a career in disability advocacy, which included assisting disabled soldiers from armed conflicts in Vietnam, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the early 1990s, Parker served as the Disability Commissioner of the U.S. Social Security Administration, opening up disability benefits to 465,000 U.S. children. From 2002-2011, she joined in the U.S. Department of Labor as the Disability Policy Director and helped create the national Disability Unemployment Statistic. Prior to the federal level, Parker held top leadership posts in two state governments: the State of Maine, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health & Mental Retardation; and the State of New Hampshire, Executive Director of the Developmental Disabilities Council. From 1998 to 2001, Parker was the Senior Policy Officer, Disability at the International Labour Organization in Geneva. She holds the Master of Social Work and Master of Social Planning degrees from Boston College School of Social Work and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Executive Director Michael Brogioli has served as the Executive Director of RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America since 2013; Prior to joining RESNA, Brogioli served as Executive Director and CEO of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the first Vice President for Policy and Government Relations at Special Olympics International, and the Executive Director of the Autism Coalition for Research and Education. Michael holds a Master of Public Policy from Duke University, where he was a Jacob Javits Fellow and a Bachelor’s degree in Government and International Relations from the University of Notre Dame.
Shelia Newman is President of New Editions Consulting, Inc., a government consulting firm specializing in contracts that focus on vulnerable populations, especially people with disabilities. Ms. Newman has been in the field of disability for 30 years, directing research studies, developing educational materials and more recently overseeing work on international disability programs. She volunteers for and supports numerous disability organizations and has won awards for the company's inclusion of people with disabilities. Ms. Newman has a M.S. in rehabilitation counseling.
President and Founder
Women Enabled, Inc.
Stephanie Ortoleva is an international human rights lawyer, researcher and consultant and is the President and Founder of Women Enabled, Inc., a Non-Governmental Organization which educates and advocates for the rights of all women and persons with disabilities with a special focus on women and girls with disabilities through collaborations with organizations of women and girls with disabilities around the world.
Taylor Hooton Foundation
Neil Romano has served as Assistant Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). He also has written and directed films portraying the experiences of people with disabilities and served on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. He is a consultant to Major League Baseball and Wal-Mart on disability issues. He is a person with dyslexia who is presently battling leukemia.
Kirt Toombs is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Oregon Center of Independent Living (EOCIL) and began his employment in January 2000. Kirt is an alumnus of the University of San Francisco (USF), where he was awarded a Master of Management and Disability Services degree. Kirt has also studied at the University of Ireland-Galway, Department of International Disability Law & Policy, through its summer program. Kirt has extensive educational and professional experience in program design, implementation, and evaluation. Since 1986, Kirt has been a fierce advocate of the Independent Living Movement, participating at both the practitioner and researcher levels. Kirt has over two decades of public administration experience, all of them in the service of the cross-disability community.
Research and Training Center on Independent Living
University of Kansas
Dr. White is Director of the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas and has worked in the field of rehabilitation and independent living for more than 30 years. Since 1997, he has conducted research and training to build capacity and disability leadership in Peru.